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McAllister v. Adecco USA Inc.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

June 29, 2017

WILLIS C. MCALLISTER, Plaintiff,
v.
ADECCO USA INC. ET AL., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S APPEAL AND AFFIRMING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S MAY 10, 2017 ORDER

          J. Michael Seabright Chief United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pro se Plaintiff Willis C. McAllister (“Plaintiff”) appeals Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield's May 10, 2017 “Order Denying Plaintiff's Revised Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint” (the “May 10 Order”), ECF No. 188. Because the May 10 Order is neither clearly erroneous nor contrary to law, Plaintiff's Appeal is DENIED, and the May 10 Order is AFFIRMED.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On August 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed a “Complaint for Employment Discrimination, ” ECF No. 1, and a document titled “Plaintiff's Original Complaint, ” ECF No. 2 (collectively, the “Complaint”), alleging race discrimination claims pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. On February 9, 2017, this court dismissed the § 1981 claims asserted against Defendant Trane U.S., Inc. (“Trane”), and granted Plaintiff leave to amend (the “February 9 Order”). ECF No. 188. The February 9 Order provided that “[a]n amended complaint may not add any new parties or claims.” Id. at 7.

         On March 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) adding new defendants -- Adecco Group A.G.; Ingersoll Rand, Inc. (“Ingersoll Rand”); and Shawna Q. Huddy (“Huddy”). ECF No. 117. On March 15, 2017, the court struck these new defendants and advised Plaintiff that “[i]f [he] wishes to add new parties and/or claims, he must first seek leave in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.” ECF No. 126 at 3. On March 22, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Revised Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”).[1] ECF No. 147. The proposed SAC sought leave to add the three defendants previously stricken (collectively, the “Proposed Defendants”). Id. at 2.

         The May 10 Order denied with prejudice Plaintiff's Revised Motion to the extent it sought to assert Title VII claims against the Proposed Defendants. See ECF No. 188 at 7, 10. The magistrate judge ruled that Plaintiff's Title VII claims are futile because they are time-barred and do not relate back to the original Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c)(1)(C). Id. at 4-7. The May 10 Order denied without prejudice the Revised Motion to the extent it sought to assert § 1981 claims against the Proposed Defendants. Id. at 9, 10.

         On May 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed a “Motion for Extension of Time to File an Appeal” of the May 10 Order, ECF No. 204, which this court construed as a timely appeal. ECF No. 205. The court then granted Plaintiff additional time to file a supporting memorandum. Id. On June 8, 2017, Plaintiff filed his supporting memorandum (“Appeal”). ECF No. 215. Trane filed its Opposition on June 16, 2017, ECF No. 218, and Defendant Adecco USA, Inc. (“Adecco”) filed its Opposition on June 21, 2017, ECF No. 222.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a), and LR 74.1, any party may appeal to the district court any pretrial nondispositive matter determined by a magistrate judge. Such an order may be reversed by the district court judge only when it is “clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); LR 74.1. An order is “contrary to law” when it “fails to apply or misapplies relevant statutes, case law, or rules of procedure.” Akey v. Placer Cty., 2017 WL 1831944, at *10 (E.D. Cal. May 8, 2017) (citation and quotation marks omitted). And an order is “clearly erroneous” if, after review, the court has a “definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” Easley v. Cromartie, 532 U.S. 234, 242 (2001); Fisher v. Tucson Unified Sch. Dist., 652 F.3d 1131, 1136 (9th Cir. 2011); Cochran v. Aguirre, 2017 WL 2505230, at *1 (E.D. Cal. June 9, 2017) (citing cases). “[R]eview under the ‘clearly erroneous' standard is significantly deferential.” Concrete Pipe & Prods. v. Constr. Laborers Pension Tr., 508 U.S. 602, 623 (1993). Thus, the district court “may not simply substitute its judgment for that of the deciding court.” Grimes v. City & Cty. of S.F., 951 F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991); Cochran, 2017 WL 2505230, at *1.

         “‘Pretrial orders of a magistrate' judge ‘under § 636(b)(1)(A) . . . are not subject to a de novo determination.'” Hypolite v. Zamora, 2017 WL 68113, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 6, 2017) (quoting Merritt v. Int'l Bhd. of Boilermakers, 649 F.2d 1013, 1017 (5th Cir. 1981)). Consideration by the reviewing court of new evidence, therefore, is not permitted. United States ex rel. Liotine v. CDW Gov't, Inc., 2013 WL 1611427, at *1 (S.D. Ill. Apr. 15, 2013) (“If the district court allowed new evidence [on review of a magistrate judge's non-dispositive order], it would essentially be conducting an impermissible de novo review of the order.”); cf. United States v. Howell, 231 F.3d 615, 621 (9th Cir. 2000) (determining that “a district court has discretion, but is not required, to consider evidence presented for the first time” in a de novo review of a magistrate judge's dispositive recommendation).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff identifies the exact issues he is appealing (and what he is not appealing):

(1) “Plaintiff acknowledges and agrees . . . that [Huddy] can not (sic) be sued for individual liability under Title VII . . . [thus] Plaintiff is not asserting an individual liability Title VII claim against ...

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